Waiting for the final assessment report this week. The one which will determine my stay or leaving the current (small) referee league. Either way, it’s out of my hands now. Continue reading “The ref season almost done and now we wait – Rodric Leerling”
The rookie ref I was to mentor last weekend showed up in full gear, shoes in his hand. I was startled. Continue reading “Getting dressed for the game – Rodric Leerling”
Last Saturday looked like a perfect day for a good match of football. It turned out to be totally otherwise. Everything that could go wrong, also went wrong. Continue reading “Meeting Murphy and his law on grass – Rodric Leerling”
For an amateur referee it’s always fun entering the football Season Finale. During the next four weeks, teams that can earn promotion or are about to relegate get to play each other in play-offs. Refs will work in turns with FA appointed trio’s, where normally each ref has to work his games alone (with club AR support).
Refs who prefer to work together can request to be formed as trio for the set of games, but most of us just wait for the teams to be organised by the FA. I’ve had some good and bad experiences with that. Two years ago, we worked as refs from the same town. Me and my ref mate from a higher league and one lower ranked ref whom we knew very well. You don’t need much time to explain how you want your game to be runned. It worked very well and we covered each other’s back when needed.
But last year was different. Me and my ref mate from the same league were now mixed with another lower ranking ref who was about to end his career. Or at least, that’s what he oozed through his AR performance at each game. And when we got a real (surprise) final to ref, he was listed as CR. This guy, really? If he wasn’t able to handle a flag decently, how would he perform as CR? No good physical condition, no guts to take measures, no communication.
Let me tell you this: the final game deserved a more motivated team. The ARs were discouraged as we expected either of us would get the game and we just didn’t trust the old guy to do well. He arrived late and his CR’s pre-game instructions were poor and lousy. The warming-up was just the two of us. The ‘old guy’ said he didn’t want to waste his energy as it was a warm day. During the game, some crucial signals were neglected and we were both getting pretty pissed off. And on top of that, I was doing the lines with the two teams’ supporters in my back. I was getting scowled for the many lousy CR decisions. Why I didn’t intervene? Why wasn’t the CR taking note of my signals? What a lousy bunch of refs, etc.etc.
After the final whistle, a shower and a quick soda, I ran for my car and drove home quickly. Luckily the two teams were out of my normal game region, so I wouldn’t bump into the teams next season. I still feel ashamed.
Hoping for a better working ref trio this Season Finale. Watch this space!
Every weekend, photographers around football pitches are busy taking pictures. Either of their kids or to record certain game moments. And sometimes refs like me check a club website afterwards and get the chance to download a high-res pics for their own collection.
This past weekend, though, I noticed a guy with a video camera walking around the pitch. At first I didn’t take much notice of it, until the last bit of the 1st half when things became sightly hectic in front of the home goal. Our video man was positioned just behind the goal. An attack by the guests ended with a player falling to the ground just before the goal, without hitting it. Was he pushed? Did he just give up and drop? I just couldn’t tell and shouted to ‘play on’ and as result got the away team and their supporters all calling for a penalty kick.
Shortly after, I blew the whistle for half time and in the corner of my eye I noticed the video man sharing his recordings with the away Assistant Referee. My AR nodded and walked me off the pitch trying to start a polite conversation. “Looking at the video, it really was a penalty kick ref” he tried. I immediately stopped his effort to convince me of my wrong observation. “No video, I’m not interested and I sure didn’t hire a VAR”. He understood and left me withdraw to my dressing room.
In the 2nd half, a much clearer foul by the home team resulted in a pk for the away team, but that didn’t help them ultimately win the game. After the final whistle was blown, the away AR handed his flag back to me, shook hands and just smiled. Guess he learned a lesson and I hope he will refrain from using his secret weapon against referees in future.
Most important reason to join the FA ref coach course was to be able to help young refs with their new hobby. My active sports time is almost over and it’s time to share my experience and help the rookie refs making it up the ladder faster.
This weekend, I was assigned to a rookie ref who just oozed being a potential top referee. He had to deal with the usual admin hassle with player passes and getting everyone on the field in time. At this lower level that’s nothing new and soon this will get more professional. We had a brief chat before the game and the rookie ref challenged me immediately with a disputed call he saw on TV the other night. He explained the situation clearly and told me he agree with the ref decision. From what he described to me it became obvious he knew how to evaluate a situation and take a decision fast.
I analysed the pitch before he could and left an obvious net problem to be reported. Which he in fact did and he asked the field marshal to correct it. The U-15 game itself wasn’t too difficult, mostly because he noticed most of the fouls and was consequent in his calls. In our brief half-time chat I warned him that the shirt pulling and pushing might get out of hand and he might have to be more strict in his calls. Twenty minutes in the 2nd half it happened: an attacker was pushed down clearly in the box and the rookie ref pointed to the penalty kick spot. And remarkably hardly anybody complained.
He left the pitch after 90 minutes with a big smile. I complimented him on a great game. He thanked me kindly for my help and the suggestions made. I told him I would keep my eyes on the rosters to see him climb the ref career ladder. A future top referee, no doubt.
He showed all signs of a referee not eager to enter the arena. I had never seen that before but it was understandable considering his previous games. His slight form of autism made him react different on situations than most of us refs would.
He was on track of getting used to sudden changes in a game, and rules that are sometime in need of a flexible interpretation. But the previous U17 game stopped in its tracks even before the first whistle. The players – in his view – were simply way older than he was (15) and he acted like a horse refusing to jump a hurdle. He stayed in his dressing room and had refused to come out, redressed and went back home. And the game a week before this one was almost abandoned by him after having received too much criticism. He restarted and eventually made it to the end.
My task today was to check him out while reffing a younger age group than himself. See if he should be advised to stop this self-hurting ref training course. Or maybe grow with the age groups and become a good ref, but at a much slower pace than in this course.
After his initial hesitation to enter the pitch, he started the U13 game and ended it well. It must be said, it wasn’t a difficult game and everyone was friendly and accepted most of his decisions. In our short evaluation afterwards he didn’t bring in any game management elements he thought he could improve on. He was just too happy he made it to the end safely.
My report was positive about this game performance but contained a warning to the FA we might have to pull the plug as he will continue to act unpredictable and is too much concerned just about himself. I wish him all the best and hope he won’t bring unnecessary stress on himself for a sports hobby as refereeing just is.
The 15-year old rookie ref had a fair U17 game to handle. Boys slightly older than himself. But he did a good job despite being slightly timid and shy.
As experienced ref, it’s interesting to notice how some coaches react once they notice a rookie ref is assigned to their game. The smarter ones, seeing me too, realize there is a ref coach accompanying him and are careful what to say and how to behave. The less smarter one play the intimidation card and get booked (by me).
The rookie ref noticed most of the fouls, but missed a few tackles in the 1st half. It even happens to me. But when the young ref noticed a sub entering the field without a shirt number, he made note of it and asked their coach for an explanation during half time, with me present. The away coach mumbled something about shirts still at home, in the washer etc. But decided to get even and pay him a return visit, just when I was getting my tea. I noticed him walking to the locker room, thinking he would confirm the shirts being sorted. But instead he told him off, telling him he had a bad game so far, not noticing tackles and his players getting injured as result. My pupil ref looked shocked and intimidated as I missed the first part of his lecture.
When I walked to him, the less smarter coach looked at me and asked “what?” as I pointed to the exit. He will hear from us this week and hopefully become smarter, but also politer and more respectful towards rookie refs.
My youth game ran into trouble mid first half. A foul I couldn’t judge properly happened just in front of the away-dugout. The player cried out of pain and his coaches immediately demanded a card. I just ignored them which infuriated them further. Followed by some bad language and negative advice for the players from the bleachers.
Nothing seemed to be right from then until I awarded them a penalty and they equalized.
At half time I called upon the captains and told them I didn’t like the atmosphere during 1st half. If they could tell their teams I was ready to pull more cards if necessary during 2nd half. They did.
After sipping my tea and considering what happened, I went looking for the away-team lockers. Summoned the players to get ready for 2nd half and kept their three coaches apart. First of all, I said, you are with too many. Only one of you can coach, not all three at the same time. Secondly, the atmosphere is not right, you encourage the players to retaliate. One of them exploded and said I was insinuating things. I knew I was on the right track, stayed calm and told them that if this was to happen again, and if only I had a feeling it came from them, they would be sent behind the fence. That did the trick. One of them offered to volunteer and stay on the bleachers, just to make a gesture of good-will. It worked!
The 2nd half went almost perfect. A 2nd yellow card and the score stayed the same. The chief coach of the away team shook my hands and asked if they behaved well. I confirmed and had a quick chat. The home team thanked me for controlling the game in a professional way. Another game finished on a positive note. Almost done and season over in one week.
I showed him a yellow card, minutes before the last whistle and seconds before the away team scored the long awaited 0-1.
Just had enough of his ‘comments’, not extremely negative, but just enough to make my head turn. Had pointed my finger to him before and noted number 7 in my head.
I hate issuing cards for dissent early in the game as it leaves no space for any fouls or be sent off and influence the game. Still, some players sense that you are that kind of ref and test your tolerance to the max. This young fellow chose intervals of 15 minutes average. Smart ass.
Number 7 would come up to me after the game and I wanted to explain my decision. He started first: “it’s not my first yellow ref, I’m a collector”. Right, always the same players. I laid my arm on his shoulder and told him to be smarter and stop talking when I tell him so. Not try to have the last word and look at me to see what I would do. “You just don’t tempt me”. He smiled and joined his fellow team members to discuss what went wrong in the 0-1 last minute lost game. Probably his concentration.